{Read Book} ô Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives  eBook or Kindle ePUB free

{Read Book} â Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives ß From the author of the dazzling epic Brilliant, a compelling history of silence as a powerful shaper of the human mind in prisons, in places of contemplation, and in our own lives Through her evocative intertwined histories of the penitentiary and the monastery, Jane Brox illuminates the many ways silence is far complex than any absolute how it has influenced ideas of the self, soul, and society Brox traces its place as a transformative power in the monastic world from Medieval Europe to the very public life of twentieth century monk Thomas Merton, whose love for silence deepened even as he faced his obligation to speak out against war This fascinating history of ideas also explores the influence the monastic cell had on one of society s darkest experiments in silence Eastern State Penitentiary Conceived of by one of the Founding Fathers and built on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the penitentiary s early promulgators imagined redemption in imposed isolation, but they badly misapprehended silence s dangers Finally, Brox s rich exploration of silence s complex and competing meanings leads us to imagine how we might navigate our own relationship with silence today, for the transformation it has always promised, in our own livesTime Interesting way to tackle silence through both prisons and monks I found the book interesting, but I think might be hard for others While this was the history of silence, I was lookingtowards how to accomplish and integrate silence in the everyday world Also I felt with each setting you could use silence for punishment and for benefit. Note I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley Silence and variety are two concepts that aren t often thought of together, to put it generously Jane Brox however shows quite clear that silence is nothing close to as simple as the overwhelming majority considers is Silence is something that can be nurtured and utilized as an expression of faith, it can be experimented with not very effectively as a tool of reform, and it can wreck painful havoc as a method of Note I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley Silence and variety are two concepts that aren t often thought of together, to put it generously Jane Brox however shows quite clear that silence is nothing close to as simple as the overwhelming majority considers is Silence is something that can be nurtured and utilized as an expression of faith, it can be experimented with not very effectively as a tool of reform, and it can wreck painful havoc as a method of punishment In just these three areas, Brox explores and reveals a complex and surprisingly diverse world And as one reads this eye opening book in their very own form of silence, it will be hard to make it even halfway through before the author will successfully get you pondering about it, and whether it s something you could stand to make room forof in your day to day life What do prisons and monasteries have in common This is the unexpected and unusual premise of Jane Brox s Silence She recreates the history of prisons in England and America, and puts the reader in the place of a prisoner, to feel the punishment endless years of it Then she crosses over to Christian monasteries, showing why they exist at all, how they spread, and the extra severe burden placed on women in their own monasteries US prisons were designed to be hellish Prisoners were hooded on What do prisons and monasteries have in common This is the unexpected and unusual premise of Jane Brox s Silence She recreates the history of prisons in England and America, and puts the reader in the place of a prisoner, to feel the punishment endless years of it Then she crosses over to Christian monasteries, showing why they exist at all, how they spread, and the extra severe burden placed on women in their own monasteries US prisons were designed to be hellish Prisoners were hooded on their way in so they could not know where they were or the layout of the building They stayed in their tiny cells, with little or no light, and nothing to read but the bible Rehabilitation was a 20th century notion, all but abandoned today, as private sector prisons use inmates as slave labor, and have deals with their states to maintain them at least 90% full So it is in the interest of both state and operator to keep the bodies coming back forToday, however, prisoners live together, eat together, and talk Brox does not venture into this noisier state of affairs.Instead, she focuses on Thomas Merton, a monk with a pencil and a typewriter He wrote books on monastic life in the middle of the 20th century that not only became bestsellers, but were smuggled into prisons where inmates could put their own lives into perspective This is a neat link of the two unlikely axes of this book A disproportionate amount of Silence is handed over to him and his thoughts.There is a large difference between the silence of prisons and that of monasteries For all their silence, monasteries are communities of likeminded men, who choose to be there They have daily routines that fill their lives They sing hymns together They just don t chat They signal a lot instead That is very different from 19th century prisons, where men were sent to be punished They were not allowed to make any noise, on pain of further punishment, had no community or even contact with other prisoners, and did not even know who their neighbors were They were totally isolated With little or nothing to do, they could and did go stir crazy Sending them back into complex and noisy society was an additional cruelty foisted upon them That is the power of silence as punishment.Brox does not delve much into the psyches of those who thrill to silence those who go for weeks and months without uttering a word and don t even notice it Think of lighthouse keepers, forest fire watchers, seal hunters, desert dwellers As long as they are absorbed by their environment and their tasks within it, they are not just at peace, but flourish She briefly mentions Thoreau, not much of a hermit, as he could still hear the churchbells from town.Brox notes how a life of silence enhances the ability to hear and perceive People hear details in a silent environment that are totally lost in a noisy one When I first moved to New York City, I could discernthan twenty sources of sound just out the front door Soon, it just became noise, and then, not even noticed We lose a tremendous amount of processing in noise there is much to be said for a life in a silent environment On the other hand, forced, unwanted silence is killer for a social animal Brox tries to bridge that gap, though she doesn t lock it down.David Wineberg As other reviews note, this book examines not only self imposed silence but solitary confinement and the use of silence in incarceration I found it odd that the book cover subtitle doesn t emphasize that at least 50% of the book is about methods of incarceration, which to me is a bit of a tangent away from the examination of quiet and silence.